The women’s track and field team is poised and ready for the Miami Elite Invitational.
Saturday’s competition will mark the Hurricanes’ second and final time hosting a meet this season.
The women’s team is coming off of an impressive performance at the Texas Relays and is currently ranked third in the country. The Hurricanes look to continue their stellar season this weekend, where they will get a chance to perform in front of family and friends.
Junior All-American Brenda Faluade said she is looking forward to running in front of the student body. Faluade won the long jump at the Texas Relays, breaking her personal best and just missing the school record.
Faluade is from Texas. She said that performing in front of her family and hometown friends helped rejuvenate her.
“It’s more exciting when there’s people there watching and cheering you on,” Faluade said.
Head Coach Amy Deem said she is also happy to have another meet at home. She said it serves as more of a preparatory meet since it falls a week before the ACC Championships. However, Deem doesn’t view it as a time to start taking things lightly. “Most of these girls want to compete whenever they get on the track,” Deem said. “You have to keep things in perspective.”
For the seniors on the team, this weekend will be their last opportunity to run at home as a Hurricane. Among those seniors is All-American Dominique Darden, who was recently named ACC Performer of the Week. Darden placed second in the 400-meter hurdles at the Texas Relays, setting an ACC and school record in the process.
Darden said that having everyone perform well in Texas provided a boost to the mentality of the team.
“I think it was a big motivation,” she said. “It’s not too far out of reach for us to do well at nationals.”
Deem said she feels confident in the potential of this team.
“I think this is the most well-rounded team I’ve ever coached,” Deem said. “I think that they’re starting to believe in themselves.”
Perhaps the only concern going into the Miami Elite Invitational is how the team will be received by the student body and the surrounding Miami area. Although the team has had a successful season, some of the runners feel they are lacking the deserved publicity. Others believe that the school has ignored the program because it does not bring in as much revenue as some of the bigger draws.
Deem said that the women’s track and field team has been referred to as the best kept secret in town. She and the rest of the team hope that Saturday’s efforts will help to shed some positive light on one of the best programs in the country.
“Miami is a tough town,” Deem said. “I hope the community comes out and supports these athletes. They deserve it.”
Joel Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.